Active hostility to a group, other than military action, or mob violence against an individual (as Acts 7: 57–8). The Jews suffered persecution when Antiochus Epiphanes (175–164 BCE) attempted to absorb them into his Hellenistic culture and condemned to death (1 Macc. 1: 41–61) those who refused to cease practising the rite of circumcision and the food regulations. In the NT persecutions are both prophesied (Matt. 5: 10–12) and described, but they come more from Jewish antagonism than official Roman policy, or at any rate according to the reports in the Acts. It is clear from 1 Pet. 4: 16 that Christian faith could lead to suffering, but it is not certain that this verse implies that being a Christian was itself an indictable offence. There was, however, a persecution against Christians by Nero after the fire in Rome of 64 CE; and correspondence between the governor in Bithynia, Pliny the Younger, in 110 CE and the emperor Trajan suggests a formal state policy to get rid of uncompromising Christians; the similarity of that situation with 1 Pet. 4: 15–19 is an argument (though not a conclusive one) for putting the date of this epistle into the early years of the 2nd cent. Actual experience of concerted persecution does seem to be implied by Rev. 13 through the threats of the emperor Domitian (81–96 CE), who wished to be called ‘Lord and God’.